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Fulham's new league campaign underway with mixed results.

Shoes Bubblejet 1 ASM FC 3

ASM FC 1 Shoes Bubblejet 2

Strange game this one, all the goals were very scrappy, one a rebound off the keeper, the next a rebound of the post and my final goal went straight through the keepers stomach! There was a mystery sending off, shoes went down to ten men, but FIFA decided not to tell me till the end of the match.

The second match was a corker. I took the lead in the first half, then shoes came back and levelled it after the brake. We were both going full on for the win, in the end I got the decider, unfortunately it was in the wrong goal!

Really pleased to get 3 points in the bag after a going out of the cup midweek with little resistance. I think I might struggle this year with Fulham. They don't seem to be half the team Sampdoria were last season.

Cheers for the games Shoes

Allan - ASM FC

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You fully deserved the first game, even if it was odd in parts. We were bullied and shoved all over the pitch, and only made an effort when we were three down.

You probably deserved the second, too. I think you hit the post a few times when it was 1-1. I was delighted to get the win, though! DELIGHTED.

Good games. Although I'm slightly worries PSV are a load of pansies.

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Sunderland drop points in early title blow

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Sunderland 3-1 West Ham

Jones (2), Bent - Dyer

Sunderland opened the season with their new manager OneDaveBamber facing his former side West Ham. Both sides seemed to let nerves get the better of them in a tentative first half, the strikers of both sides fluffing good opportunities. However it was the Mackems who came out stronger in the second half, presumably on the end of some strong half-time words from their new gaffer. Kenwyne Jones opened his account for the season after first being denied by a good Green save. His strike partner Darren Bent soon doubled Sunderland's advantage and before long it was three, Jones delicately chipping the advancing Hammers 'keeper. The scoreline flattered Sunderland however and it was only right that West Ham did pull one back with a late consolation from Dyer.

West Ham 1-0 Sunderland

Dyer

Eager to get their revenge on their former manager, West Ham began the return fixture brightly and put the Mackems under heavy pressure. The pressure finally told when a neat Hammers move saw the ball laid off to Kieron Dyer who made no mistake from eight yards, drilling home a Dean Ashton lay-off. However, rather than kick-on and make the most of their advantage, the Hammers backed off and invited Sunderland onto them. Despite laying siege to the West Ham goal, clear cut chances were few and far between. Sunderland knew it wasn't going to be their day when Kenwyne Jones turned inside the box but saw his shot hit the inside of the post and roll cruely back across the face of the goal before being cleared by Henry Ilunga. West Ham ran down the clock well to seal their first win of the season.

Cheers for the games Si. A bit laggy in that 2nd one but you definitely deserved to win that one and frustrated me with some good closing down. Good luck for the rest of the season!

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Sunderland 3 - 1 West Ham

OneDaveBamber v siread

Dave thoroughly deserved the win in the first game. Kept me under pressure for long periods of the game and whilst Cole and Ashton wasted some good chances once Sunderland went ahead the Hammers never really looked like getting anything out of the game. I did feel a little unlucky with some of the decisions and the run of the ball but Jones and Bent were a constant threat and Dave ripped me apart in the second half.

West Ham 1 - 0 Sunderland

siread v OneDaveBamber

If I felt a tad unlucky in the first game then Dave must have been tearing his hair out in this one. Numerous chances went begging for Sunderland, the post saved me on one occasion and great goalkeeping on others. Having said that the Hammers played a lot better in this game, choosing to go 4-3-3 with Cole, Ashton and Dyer making up the three pronged attack. It paid dividends and I felt dangerous going forward. A bit more composure from the boys would have settled the game, especially when Ashton ballooned a one-on-one over the bar. It was a nervous affair but West Ham managed to just edge it on possession with 51% and saw the game out.

CFTGs mate. Great stuff. :)

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Claridge Predicts!

Week Two

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Last Week's Results

Steve was thoroughly unimpressed with the timekeeping of League Two managers, and so only half of the fixtures were completed. Out of those 6 results, Steve got 3 right - a so-so start to the season.

Here's what Steve thinks for the second round of fixtures...

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Neither side has yet to fulfil their first league fixture, but the two sides have had differing fortunes in the Europa Cup. Ajax's strong mid-week showing indicates that they will be the stronger of the two teams here.

Claridge predicts:

Six points for Ajax

56.gifVfb Stuttgart (Billy Brown) vs. Fenerbahce (AlfromSleep)625.gif

Two more slackers who have yet to play a league fixture and with neither having played in the cup, it makes a prediction tough. However, Steve's in-depth knowledge of this level of football suggests that it will be the Turks with more to celebrate about from this encounter.

Claridge predicts:

Four points for the Turks

112.gifEspanyol (DangerM) vs. Schalke 04 (Alshie)55.gif

Schalke got off to a flier with two wins over Palermo, but with question marks over the Italian side's eligibility, the six points may yet be scrubbed off. Nevertheless, Schalke will be strong contenders this season although may find Espanyol a tricky proposition.

Claridge predicts:

A win each

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POSTPONED

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West Ham have had a strong start in both the league and cup, progressing in the Europa Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win and taking three points off promotion candidates Sunderland. PSV, widely tipped to go down, did well to beat Fulham in the opening round so they shouldn't be written off.

Claridge predicts:

Six points for the Hammers

749.gif1899 Hoffenheim (Harbey) vs. Sunderland (OneDaveBamber)516.gif

Hoffenheim are yet to play this season, but Sunderland will be disappointed to have only taken three points from their opening two games. With both sides set to meet in the 1st Round of the Europa Cup, they will both be eager to set a positive tone in this tie.

Claridge predicts:

The Mackems to take all six points

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Ajax Earn First Win

(Bill Brown)Stuttgart 56.gif2-4 80.gifAjax(Nathan)

In a stunning game, Ajax edged out winners of the first meeting. The game started off in the usual fast paced way that manager Nathan is renown for, and his attacking minded football was rewarded within 4 minutes when Suarez released Pantelic who side-stepped the last defender and struck a diagonal shot across goal leaving a frustrated Lehman stranded. Stuttgart quickly cancelled this out when a well crafted attack saw Hleb grabbing a goal. At the restart both teams looked more cautious and took more time to build an attack, with Suarez managing to pounce on an unsuspecting Stuttgart defence, slotting past Lehman to make it 2-1. It looked like Ajax would be going in with the lead at the break, but Stuttgart having other ideas and levelling with the last kick of the Half.

The second half saw a fired up Ajax come at Stuttgart from the off, but to no avail. What followed was a period of attacking football from each team, and it looked like whichever team that scored first would edge it. Ajax edged ahead for the third time with Suarez's second, sidestepping a bewildered Stuttgart defence and smashing it past Lehman. With the match at 3-2, it was game on and Stuttgart came out fighting only to be denied on a number of occassions. Pantelic took the heat off with 10minutes to go, when he latched onto a pinpoint pass from Emanualson and chipping it over Lehman. Suttgart continued to press but couldnt find the back of the net.

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Luis Suarez celebrates his second, and Ajax's third

Ajax continue winning Streak

(Nathan)Ajax 80.gif3-0 56.gifStuttgart(Bill Brown)

The second game started off the same as the first, with both sides attacking, although it was Stuttgart who were nearly ahead within 3 minutes of play, with a Hleb wonderstrike hitting the woodwork and bouncing out of play. This shook an unsuspecting Ajax, but they quickly regrouped and found themselves ahead when Suarez broke free and smashed it past Lehman. Ajax then suffered a period of attacking football from Stuttgart barely able to supress thier forward line, and it was with relieved breath when the half time whistle blew.

From the off Stuttgart started off as they finshed the first half, but to no avail as they couldnt find the back of the net. Ajax then came at Stuttgart with renewed vigour and were repayed when an in form Suarez slotted past Lehman to make it 2-0. Stuttgart seemed to lose heart briefly as Ajax continued to press, but soon put Ajax back on the back foot with continued attacking. Ajax needed a third to truly put the game to bed, and an unsuspecting goal in the form of Urby Emanualson did just that. Stuttgart fought all the way to the end but their shooting let them down.

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Emanualson strikes to make it 3

Cracking games Bill, especially the first game. You should have gotten more out of them than you did... good luck for the rest of the season

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Schalke Stutter to 3 points

Schalke (Alshie) 3 - 0 (Danger M) Espanyol

Schalke destroyed a classy Espanyol side with a superb display of counter attacking football. Kuranyi opened the scoring after 9 minutes with a bullet header whilst Espanyol were still finding there bearings. the Spanish side went on to play some sweet passing football via De La Pena and Nakamura but couldn't grab an equaliser before half-time.

Just after the break Farfan made it 2-0 with a lovely volley from an Altintop cross on the counter. It was hard luck on Espanyol but they continued to probe looking for a way back into the game. It was all over mid way through the 2nd half as Altintop claimed one for himself to make it 3-0 Schalke. The remainder of the game was end to end as Schalke relaxed at the back with their 3 goal cushion, but it finished 3-0.

A good game from my point of view - played better than I did last week and managed to work a couple of good goals.

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Kuranyi Walks out on Schalke

(Danger M) Espanyol 1 - 0 Schalke (Alshie)

Gutted! Schalke came out of the blocks flying in this one hoping to continue where they left off in the home fixture. Inside the first 10 minutes a wonderful passing interchange saw Kuranyi played in on the keeper, he set himself and smacked the ball off the crossbar when it looked easier to score. A bad miss but it looked like Schalke were going to set the pace.

How wrong this turned out to be... Espanyol went up the park and scored. A slick passing play culminating in a delightful chip over the motionless Schalke defence and Tamudo challenging the keeper and nodding home. A sweet goal that seemed to fire the Espanyol team up, they went on to dominatye for large periods with Schalke having a few chances but seemingly unable to finish. Neuer in the Schalke goal kept them in it til the end and deep into injury time Altintop had a glorius chance but dithered over the square ball or the shot and ran the ball out.

A well deserved Espanyol win but a crushing blow to the title hopes of Schalke. Reports have reached us that Kevin Kuranyi left the team hotel after the away game in Espanyol after manager Alshie is believed to have called him a "useless twat". Kuranyi had a particularly bad game, missing an early chance and then proceeding to be unable to head, pass or trap the ball fro the remaining 85 minutes.

Well played mate, good luck with the rest of the season.

As a quick aside DangerM also beat me 1-0 in the Europa Cup, pretty similar game to game 2, Early Espanyol Tamudo header and then trading blows for the other 80 minutes.

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Schalke Stutter to 3 points

Schalke (Alshie) 3 - 0 (Danger M) Espanyol

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Kuranyi Walks out on Schalke

(Danger M) Espanyol 1 - 0 Schalke (Alshie)

112.gifEspanyol (DangerM) vs. Schalke 04 (Alshie)55.gif

Schalke got off to a flier with two wins over Palermo, but with question marks over the Italian side's eligibility, the six points may yet be scrubbed off. Nevertheless, Schalke will be strong contenders this season although may find Espanyol a tricky proposition.

Claridge predicts:

A win each

Steve is on the money!

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Fenerbahce get season underway with 4 points from opening fixtures against Espanyol.

Match reports to follow...

Espanyol (DangerM) vs. Fenerbahce (AlfromSleep)

DangerM took a season out but his skills as a manager cannot be disputed. AlfromSleep will be hoping he can improve on last season's debut at League Two level, and moving to Istanbul could aid his push for promotion.

Claridge predicts: Four points for Fenerbahce as the Spaniards are yet to gel.

Another crystal ball prediction from Claridge!

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THE RAIN IN SPAIN FALLS MAINLY ON THE.................GAME

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The late, late show in a soaked Olympic Stadium in Barcelona last night as Espanyol and Fenerbahce shared the spoils in a very close encounter.

The visitors started brightly and on his return to his homeland, Dani Güiza came close to opening the scoring a couple of times early on. Espanyol started to come more into the game with De La Pena pulling the strings for the home side.

Things remained tight until half time and it stayed this way until the final minute when a cross from the right wing by Uğur Boral was met on the volley by GUIZA to open the scoring and look like sealing an undeserved victory for Fenerbahce.

It was not to be however. As the Tyler and Gray partnership would say, a team is at its most vulnerable when they have just scored and TAMUDO broke Turkish hearts with a cool finish after sneaking through the Fenerbahce defence to level things with the final kick of the ball.

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Güiza celebrates late opener but it was not to be 3 points for Fenerbahce

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TURKISH DELIGHT................

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Fenerbahce made up for the dropped points in the reverse fixture in a comfortable victory over Espanyol at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium with goals by Güiza and Alex.

The home side lined up with a more attacking formation for this match and they immediately went on the offensive with both Alex and Güiza coming close with shots outside the box. Espanyol again had De La Pena as their main threat but his space was more restricted in this match by Gökhan Gönül at right back.

The hosts opened the scoring when a through ball found GUIZA in space and the striker made no mistake to slot home his second goal in as many games. The second followed soon after when a Fenerbahce counter attack and cross, led by Andre Santos, was met by ALEX who controlled the ball and slammed home a volley.

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Fenerbahce captain Alex de Souza delights the home support after doubling his sides lead in last nights 2-0 win over Espanyol

Boral and Santos on the wings were seeing a lot of the ball and came close on a few occasions before Espanyol had their best chance of the game. A free kick at the other end of the pitch was intercepted (my controller battery died and I scrambled to fix it!) and the resultant breakaway was inches away from being converted by one of the visitors before being cleared by the desperate defence (managed to regain control in time to hold off this attack).

Fenerbahce then sat back a bit and tried to keep possession of the ball as the minutes counted down to the final whistle and the crowd wildly celebrated their first win of the new season under new manager Al Sleep.

Cheers for the games DangerM, I know I was a bit negative in the second game after scoring, I just didn't want to throw away the lead like I did in the first game!

Best of luck for the rest of the season

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Tamudo has been my not so secret weapon for 5 seasons. He doesn't seem quite as good as he was in 09 though (probably reflecting his dubious aging performance in real life). I'll be gutted if he moves to Wigan as rumoured, but Espanyol have a lot more options up front now than they used to with old favourite Luis Garcia, Corominas, Ivan Alonso, and Sahar. I was dubious about Nakamura at first as a gust of wind can blow him off the ball, but his speed and shooting make up for it, and he makes a good opposite to De La Pena on the other wing.

I think the first game with Alshie was probably closer than the score suggests, he just put in more than a few perfect crosses (something I'm still struggling with in Fifa10). The second half tightened up a bit but I was still struggling to convert any chances, and the tightness continued onto our other games but I just about managed to edge the lead in both of them.

I was a bit distracted in my game with AlSleep as I had to go out so just wanted to get them finished. The first game wasn't really going anywhere for the whole match, then right at the end when Fenerbahce took the lead I had to just throw everyone forward to force an equaliser. I went down early on in the second game and again tried to push everyone forward to level things, but this just opened me up for another goal so I tried to play it safe from that point on, which didn't do much good.

I havent had much time to put any practice in, so I'm not too worried about these results. I'm confident things will pick up for Espanyol later in the season...

Cheers for the games!

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I think the first game with Alshie was probably closer than the score suggests, he just put in more than a few perfect crosses (something I'm still struggling with in Fifa10). The second half tightened up a bit but I was still struggling to convert any chances, and the tightness continued onto our other games but I just about managed to edge the lead in both of them.

Definitely. I had one of those games where I managed to convert the 3 chances I got. I think the crossing is much better in Fifa 10 but it's still sometimes too easy to overhit them. i think the league is going to be pretty tight this season.

Nakamura is a quality player! My mob (Celtic) are missing him this season. I was suprised at how good Espanyol were to be honest(although that may be you making them look good), played a few games with them in 09 and thought they were really slow.

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Espanyol are definately better in Fifa 10 then they were in 09, quite odd really considering they nearly got relegated last season, so i thought that they would be portrayed as worse.

Still, i agree that the league is gonna be a tight one, and with the introduction of Jdog as Palermo, things could get interesting up top

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